Blue Bunny Ice Cream Goes Extreme

Thomas Talbert
Thomas H. Talbert, RD

How do you develop culinary content that can move a foodservice operator to action? There are plenty of different approaches, but they pretty much all boil down to these two steps: identify a target’s wants or needs and satisfy them. Often, in away-from-home food, that means also satisfying the wants and needs of the consumer base. Blue Bunny®’s integrated extreme dessert campaign is a great example of how that strategy paid off.

The Purpose

Blue Bunny has been churning out incredible ice cream for over 80 years. When they came to us, they were looking to garner interest and conversion beyond standard vanilla hard-packed ice cream (always placed on the side or al a mode) and increase their sales with independent foodservice operators.

The Opportunity

We took a look at the wants and needs of the independent operator. We knew 68% of them say manufacturer-provided menu/recipe assistance is important.1 We also took a look at something their customers were (maybe surprisingly but also understandably) gravitating towards: semi-absurd, over-the-top desserts that are “instagrammable.” That, combined with the steady growth of floats and the continued popularity of ice cream on Full Service Restaurant dessert menus (36% of desserts ordered feature ice cream2) got us thinking.

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The Solution

We took what we knew about our audience and theirs, and constructed a robust campaign based around extreme shakes and floats. We developed some fairly outrageous recipes, and captured mouthwatering visual media to catch some eyes. We built our message around the needs of target operators and the wants of their consumers: you can build profitability by taking your dessert menu to new extremes with Blue Bunny. We got the message out with direct mail, a microsite, recipe videos and a full digital ad campaign supported with a compelling profit calculator and rebates.

The Result

So what happened when Blue Bunny put their out-there desserts out there? The sales team completely embraced the new ‘extreme’ campaign. These platforms gave them a compelling story to engage with operators, and the confidence to promote culinary ideas that not only aligned with their products, but also satisfied a growing craving among their consumer base. Ultimately, the digital campaign caught the right attention resulting in twice the average click-through rate. Key operations, like Famous Dave’s, saw these desserts as a way to connect with customers and drive traffic and capitalized on the opportunity by adding indulgent shakes to the menu.

When done well, B2B food content demonstrates a solution to an operator need. When done best, it triggers the culinary imagination of an operator by showcasing something totally original with serious consumer appeal. Blue Bunny was able to do just that.

1Technomic, FSPP: Future of Support, June 2018.

2Datassential Menu Trends Database.

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